"I am, I am, I am the Promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed to God to hasten." —The Báb
Millennial fervor gripped many people around the world in the early nineteenth century. While Christians anticipated the return of Jesus Christ, a wave of expectation swept through Islam that the "Lord of the Age" would soon appear. In Persia, this reached a dramatic climax on May 23, 1844, when a twenty-five-year-old merchant from Shiraz named Siyyid 'Alí-Muhammad, later title "The Báb," announced that He was the bearer of a divine Revelation destined to transform the spiritual life of the human race.
Furthermore, He claimed that He was but the Herald of another Messenger, who would soon bring a far greater Revelation that would usher in an age of universal peace. Against a backdrop of wide-scale moral decay in Persian society, this declaration aroused hope and excitement among all classes. The Báb quickly attracted tens of thousands of followers, including influential members of the clergy--and the brutal hand of a fearful government bent on destroying this movement that threatened to rock the established order.